Government agency and archive. The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress was created by the US Congress in 1976 to “preserve and present American Folklife,” the first time US federal law mandated the conservation of folk culture. The Center soon acquired the Archive of Folk Culture, which had been established by the Library of Congress’s music division in 1928. Through the efforts of such leaders as Robert W. Gordon, John Lomax, Alan Lomax, and Joe Hickerson, the archive had acquired thousands of hours of field recordings, and provided access to them in a public reading room as well as through books and record albums. By 1978, when it became part of AFC, it was already the largest ethnographic archive in the United States, as well as the source for many popular pieces of music, including Aaron Copland’s Hoedown, Johnny Cash’s “Rock Island Line,” and the Kingston Trio’s “Tom Dooley.”...
Stephen D. Winick
American television show. Developed by the music executive Simon Fuller of 19 Entertainment, American Idol is one of more than 40 “Idol” programs that have been televised around the world, each designed for a particular nation or region. The show was first broadcast on British television as Pop Idol in 2001, before airing in the United States on the Fox Network the following year. American Idol itself has been broadcast in more than half of all sovereign states.
Its format draws on forerunners including Major Bowes’ Amateur Hour, Star Search, Popstars, and The Eurovision Song Contest and invites viewers to vote, typically by telephone or text message, in the election of a new pop star. Candidates vying for a recording contract are chosen by producers through a series of open auditions. When the voting episodes begin, contestants’ live weekly performances are critiqued by a panel of judges. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul served as the initial panel of judges for ...
Katherine K. Preston and Michael Mauskapf
This article addresses the history of individuals and organizations devoted to the management of musical artists and their careers in the United States.
Musicians who toured the United States during the first half of the 19th century relied on individuals to manage their tours. Some of the most important early impresarios included William Brough, max Maretzek , bernard Ullman , and maurice Strakosch . These men travelled the musicians’ routes, sometimes with the performers and sometimes a week or two ahead, and were responsible for renting a performance venue, arranging publicity, and engaging supporting musicians and needed instruments. Managers also made travel arrangements, secured lodging, and negotiated terms with the managers of local theaters or halls. Some of these managers were themselves performers; the pianist Strakosch frequently toured with singers, and Maretzek was the conductor for his opera companies. This style of management essentially replicated the modus operandi of itinerant theatrical stars. (...
Record label based in San Francisco, California. Founded by Jon Jang and Francis Wong in 1987, it was inspired by African American musicians, including Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Sun Ra, and members of Chicago’s AACM, who turned to self-production as a way to maintain creative control of their work. With its name derived from the phrase “Asian American Improvised Music,” the label initially functioned as an outlet for recordings by Jang and pianist Glenn Horiuchi, two early leaders in ASIAN AMERICAN JAZZ. In 1988, Jang and Wong created Asian Improv Arts, a nonprofit organization promoting performances by Asian American artists, many of whom record with the label.
Early Asian Improv releases reflect the concerns of the Asian American consciousness movement, such as combating anti-Asian violence and gaining redress and reparations for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. In the 1990s, however, the label began broadening its roster to reflect a greater diversity of artistic and ethnic viewpoints, including a greater engagement with music and musicians from Asian countries. Although primarily devoted to creating space in the recording industry for Asian American voices, the record label has fostered collaboration across racial lines. For example, African American musicians Fred Anderson, Joseph Jarmon, James Newton, Max Roach, and numerous others have released recordings with Asian Improv or appeared on recordings by its artists....
Banda (band) is a generic Spanish term for a variety of ensembles consisting of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments found throughout Latin America. Introduced in the mid-1800s, brass bands were a fixture of Mexico’s musical life in the late 19th century and flourished in both rural and urban areas. With the revolutionary movement (1910–20) bandas populares (popular bands) developed pronounced regional characteristics, and the lineup in regional bands became increasingly more standardized.
Among the many regional bands, banda sinaloense (Sinaloan banda) stands out, as this type gained a reputation in the international popular music market at the close of the twentieth century. The ensemble dates back to the military bands of European colonists and to the brass music of German immigrants to Mexico’s northern Pacific coast in the mid-19th century. After its consolidation in the early 20th century, band membership in Sinaloa averaged from nine to 12 musicians playing clarinets, cornets or trumpets, trombones with valves, saxhorns, tubas, snare drums (...
revised by Stephanie Jensen-Moulton
American opera company. In 1878 a Boston newspaper, critical of the performances of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore that had been staged in the city, called for an “ideal” production. The singers’ agent Effie H. Ober responded by forming the “Ideals,” and staging a highly successful version of Pinafore on 14 April 1879. In the next years the troupe built a sizable repertory of contemporary comic operas and such works as Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and D.-F.-E. Auber’s Fra Diavolo. It made annual countrywide tours and earned a reputation as the finest American ensemble of its kind. Aside from the troupe’s chorus of 40 to 60 members, early featured singers included George Fessenden, Myron Whitney, Tom Karl, Adelaide Philips, and Mary Beebe. Trouble began for the Ideals in 1883, with the firing of a manager who was convicted as “insane from drink.” In 1885 Ober stepped down as the troupe’s manager. In ...
Canadian content regulations for commercial radio that were enacted in 1971. These introduced a requirement for commercial AM stations to play a percentage of Canadian songs each day, including set percentages for prime listening hours to prevent stations from limiting Canadian tracks to less lucrative overnight hours. Subsequent regulations have been put in place for FM stations with some flexibility on the established percentages based on the mandate of each licensee. For mainstream, commercial radio, the percentage was established at 25% in 1971 and then increased to 30% in 1986 and to 35% in 1998. The 1986 extension of Cancon to Canada’s music video television station, Much Music, gave Canadian acts a national presence as opposed to the more regional impact of regulations on local radio.
Songs that qualified as Canadian under the Cancon regulations had to meet a minimum of two of four key criteria: music must be composed entirely by a Canadian, the artist must be Canadian, production must take place in Canada, and lyrics must be composed entirely by a Canadian. The system is commonly referred to by the acronym MAPL; pronounced Maple to ensure an added Canadian “flavor.” This designation led to controversy in ...
Nancy Yunwha Rao
[Cathay Music Society]
Sponsored by the Chinese Six Companies Association, it was formed in 1911 by 13 Chinese teenagers in San Francisco and was the first Chinese Western-style marching band in America. Later its members created the Cathay Club, or Cathay Music Society, which fostered multiple bands and social activities, including a small Chinese instrument ensemble. Bookings ranged from the Orpheum Circuit, which involved tours to the Midwest and South under such names as the Chinese Military Band and the Chinese Jazz Band, to various world fairs, including the Panama Pacific International Exposition (1915). The Cathay Club also provided music at holiday parades and funeral processions for generations of San Franciscans, a tradition absent in other American Chinatowns. It grew to 30 members in the 1930s and around 100 at its peak, when it included a senior band, a junior band, a glee club, and two dance bands. The Cathayans Orchestra and Chinatown Knights, formed by Cathay Club members in the 1920s and 30s, were the first all-Chinese dance bands in the United States, performing big band music through the 1950s. In ...
M. Montgomery Wolf
[CBGB; Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers]
Nightclub founded by Hilly Kristal in New York in December 1973. It was located below the Palace Hotel, a flophouse on the Bowery in a rough and rundown section of the city. Following his own tastes, Kristal intended to host mostly acoustic Americana, but a few months later, the guitarist Tom Verlaine convinced Kristal to let his band Television play there. The club became a rare site of original rock in an era favoring either folk clubs or arena rock. It also became the physical center for the New York punk scene, which was emerging at the time, allowing Patti Smith, Blondie, the Ramones, and Talking Heads, among others, to hone their craft. Despite its dark, dirty interior, famously squalid bathrooms, and dangerous neighborhood, musicians loved CBGB for its fabulous sound system. By 1975 it had demonstrated the viability of original rock, and Max’s Kansas City, another club in New York, began booking local, unsigned acts. Max’s and CBGB remained the principal venues in New York for punk rock through ...
Sara Velez, Sanford A. Linscome, and Stephanie Jensen-Moulton
An annual summer opera festival established in Central City, Colorado, in 1932. It is the second oldest such festival in the United States, with Chautauqua’s festival being the oldest. Most festival events are held in the beautifully restored Victorian jewel-box opera house (capacity 800) inaugurated in 1878, which had presented burlesque, opera, Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and serious drama until the turn of the century. As the silver and gold deposits around Central City declined, so did the fortunes of the opera house: it became a cinema in 1908 and was closed down in 1927. After acquisition by the University of Denver in 1931 and some months of restoration, the house re-opened under the auspices of the Central City Opera House Association (formed 1932) through volunteer efforts driven by Ida Kruse McFarlane, Edna Chappell, and Anne Evans. The Association decided upon a summer format, opening the 1932 season with Lillian Gish in ...
Tammy L. Kernodle
Although African American music has contained an undercurrent of resistance and transcendence from its beginnings, most associate these ideals with the manner in which black song traditions were used during the Civil Rights Movement, c1954–76. Freedom songs, or civil rights songs, were drawn from different genres and were used in myriad ways as movement activities diversified and spread.
Although singing was not a prominent part of the movement prior to 1960, the singing of hymns, spirituals, and gospel songs preceded many of the meetings associated with the early movement. The increased use of music in coordination with movement activities coincided with the rise of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1961 and its role in desegregating Albany, Georgia, beginning that same year. SNCC, the student-based arm of the southern movement against segregation, in conjunction with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), sponsored sit-ins to desegregate lunch counters and public facilities, Freedom Rides to desegregate the interstate transportation system, and wade-ins and marches throughout the South. SNCC was also instrumental in defining the role that music would have in the movement. Freedom songs became central in movement activities especially during mass meetings. Their function was two-fold: to focus participants on the directives of the movement at that time, and to motivate activists. These early songs were simple in their construction and were generally adapted from spirituals, gospel hymns and/or R&B songs. They were generally performed in call and response with texts that were adapted to transition the concept of freedom from an abstract form to the specific activities used in order to achieve it. Songs familiar through the black church such as “Wade in the Water,” “Oh, Freedom” and “I Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” were modified to fit the new context. One of the most famous and referenced examples of this type of recomposition is the adaptation of “We Shall Overcome” from the gospel song “I Will Overcome Someday” written almost 60 years before by composer and preacher Charles A. Tindley. The song was revamped musically and the text altered so that Tindley’s initial “I” becomes the collective “we.” The song became the “anthem” of the movement and today is song at many black history or movement commemorations....
US organization formed in 1964 to promote and support Gospel music. As of 2011, the Gospel Music Association (GMA) comprises more than 4000 members, including performers, agents, church leaders, managers, retailers, and songwriters, among others. The association organizes the annual Dove Awards. Established in 1969 and held in Nashville, Tennessee, the Doves present a variety of awards across categories ranging from traditional gospel forms to those incorporating elements of rock and hip hop. The Awards occasionally have been a site of controversy within the gospel community, such as in 1998 when both Amy Grant and Sixpence None the Richer were deemed too secular by some in the organization. The GMA also has developed a “Music Week” in Nashville that acts as a convention (including seminars and meetings), a concert series, and a buildup to the Doves. In 1971, the GMA also introduced and administers its Gospel Hall of Fame, which serves to honor legendary gospel music artists....
Bill C. Malone
revised by Travis D. Stimeling
Country music variety show. Begun in November 1925, just weeks after Nashville radio station WSM began broadcasting, the program began as a noncommercial show called the WSM Barn Dance. It was renamed Grand Ole Opry in 1927, a reference to the grand opera often broadcast in Walter Damrosch’s program that preceded it. It is broadcast weekly and has become the longest continuously running radio show in the United States. It was the brain-child of announcer George Dewey Hay, who had previously worked as a producer on the National Barn Dance in Chicago. Originally owned by the National Life and Accident Insurance Company, which owned WSM, the show was sold to Gaylord Broadcasting (later Gaylord Entertainment) in 1983. Early programs featured folk entertainers from Middle Tennessee, among them the Gully Jumpers, Uncle Jimmy Thompson, Dr. Humphrey Bate and the Possum Hunters, DeFord Bailey, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, and Uncle Dave Macon. From ...
Founded in 1972, the organization seeks to facilitate learning about the art, craft, and science of lutherie. It was organized by a group of craftsmen to provide a forum for sharing information about building string instruments, including guitars of all types, mandolins, lutes, violins, and others. In 2010 it had more than 3600 members from the United States and 40 other countries.
The Guild (<
Organizations devoted to a particular musical instrument or group of instruments. Groups state their purpose and goals in many different ways, but common ideas include fostering communication between members, providing a forum for the exchange of information and ideas, and promoting interest in and study of the instrument(s) to which the society is dedicated. Some societies emphasize the history of instruments, disseminating information about them, and preserving historic instruments. Others emphasize collecting or making instruments. A common theme is bringing together amateur and professional players or instrument makers of all experience levels.
A number of groups, including what is probably the first instrument society—the American Recorder Society, founded in 1929 by lutenist Suzanne Block—were an outgrowth of the early music revival, through which instrumental ensembles brought recorders, viols, lutes, and other little-known instruments to the notice of a wider audience. The ARS continues to facilitate meetings between recorder players and to offer help and support as members choose, learn, play, and care for their instruments. Interest in early instruments has prompted the formation of similar groups such as the Viola da Gamba Society of America (founded ...
Sarah Deters Richardson
International organization established in 1971, dedicated to double reed players, instrument manufacturers, and enthusiasts. The society aims to enhance the art of double reed playing; encourage the performance of double reed literature; improve instruments, tools, and reed-making material; encourage the composition and arranging of music for double reeds; act as a resource for performers; assist teachers and students of double reed instruments; encourage cooperation and an exchange of ideas between the music industry and the society; and foster a world-wide communication between double reed musicians (IDRS Constitution, 1997). IDRS has over 4,400 members from 56 countries. The society’s website (
The society grew out of a thrice-yearly newsletter, To the World’s Bassoonists (1969–77). In the second year of its existence, a parallel newsletter, To the World’s Oboists...
Sarah Deters Richardson
International organization dedicated to horn performance, teaching, composition, and research, and the preservation and promotion of the horn as a musical instrument. The society was formed in June 1970 at the Second International Horn Workshop, in Tallahassee, Florida. It began publishing a refereed journal, The Horn Call, in Feb 1971; since its inception the journal has grown from a biannual to a quarterly publication. The society holds workshops, lectures, and seminars; awards grants and scholarships; encourages new compositions and arrangements for the horn; and presents honors and recognition for distinctive service related to the horn. It also maintains the IHS Archive, housed in the Sibley Music Library at the Eastman School of Music, as a repository for documents and memorabilia related to the history and development of the society, as well as for specially donated material relating to the horn. Its website
North American concert tour and music festival for female artists. It was founded in 1996 by Canadian musician Sarah McLachlan, along with Dan Fraser and Terry McBride of Nettwerk Music and agent Marty Diamond. McLachlan had become increasingly frustrated by concert promoter and radio station policies which rarely featured two female musicians in a row. In response, she booked a North American tour with Paula Cole in 1996. McLachlan and Cole were joined by Lisa Loeb and Michelle McAdorey at some of the performances, and these shows were billed as “Lilith Fair.” The following year, McLachlan founded the Lilith Fair tour, consisting of female solo artists and female-led bands. The festival continued until 1999 and was revived in 2010. Each year, three different stages featured well-known headliners, up-and-coming acts, and local performers. The festival included performers from all genres, including Tracy Chapman, Jewel, Suzanne Vega, Emmylou Harris, Indigo Girls, Cassandra Wilson, Holly Cole, Erykah Badu, Sheryl Crow, Natalie Merchant, Bonnie Raitt, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Diana Krall, Liz Phair, Neko Case, Dixie Chicks, Martina McBride, the Pretenders, Christina Aguilera, Nelly Furtado, and many others. Between ...
Annual North American music festival. Lollapalooza was created by Perry Farrell, who aimed to assemble a musical roadshow in 1991 as a farewell tour for his band, Jane’s Addiction. Although Lollapalooza was closely tied to alternative music, from the beginning the festival featured a variety of genres, including punk, hip hop, and heavy metal. The 1991 headliners included Siouxsie and the Banshees, Ice-T, and Nine Inch Nails, as well as comedy and circus acts. Lollapalooza also hosted a craft fair and provided a platform for political and environmental groups. The festival exposed audiences to artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, and Green Day. In 1992, a second stage was added for local and up-and-coming acts and a third was added in 1996. By the late 1990s, alternative rock was on the decline and Lollapalooza along with it. Farrell bowed out in 1996, while audiences grew disenchanted with the high prices of tickets, food, and water. Lollapalooza ...